San Diego

San Diego-Based Medical Rescue Team Returns From Hurricane Harvey Mission

The team worked to help thousands of evacuees devastated by the destructive storm

A local medical rescue team deployed to Texas and tasked with helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey returned home to San Diego Thursday.

Doctors, nurses, pharmacy personnel, paramedics and other specialists were welcomed back at the San Diego International Airport. The Disaster Medical Assistance Team CA-4 (DMAT-CA4) was deployed from San Diego to help victims of the catastrophic hurricane, as part of the national disaster medical system.

The team's leader, Dr. Jake Jacoby, said their top priority was to help thousands of evacuees whose lives were threatened by the torrential rains, perilous floods and raging currents that swept through roads, blocking access to nearby hospitals.

Their medical expertise was utilized at shelters throughout the Houston area.

NBC 7 spoke with Tiffani Czapinski, a mother of two who worked as a Chula Vista firefighter and paramedic for the team. She's from Corpus Christi, a city in Texas on the Gulf of Mexico, where her mother still resides.

"It was heartbreaking. And it made even more of a solidified reason to be there, helping people in their need," said Czapinski.

Since the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, the San Diego-based team has responded to 17 emergency disasters. Eight of those missions involved hurricanes and a super typhoon in Guam.

Some of the team members have experienced large-scale disasters. That includes the medical response following the attack on the World Trade Center and hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

Contact Us